Phoenix Amateur Radio Club

The Phoenix Amateur Radio Club began as the Phoenix Radio Group in 2013 when 6 local radio amateurs agreed to set up a ‘club’ which would initially have the following terms of reference.

  • It was to be a ‘by invitation’ club.
  • There would be a co-ordinator, but no other officers, and it would run by consensus.
  • It would undertake any type of portable operation which the participants desired.
  • Meetings would be ad-hoc and mainly be held during field activities; therefore no permanent accommodation was required.
  • All communications between members would be direct by email and telephone chats and not filtered through a committee.
  • No ‘club’ equipment was needed.
  • A website would be maintained.
  • The cost of 'essential expenses' in setting up the ‘club’ would be kept to a minimum, with a voluntary personal contribution. Unused funds would be returned to members at the end of the year.
  • The group would function exclusively as ‘virtual club’.

From the earliest days all of our activities have been conceived, planned and organised in a matter of days, and sometimes hours. This has allowed the club to be ‘responsive’ and to take advantage of new ideas quickly and without the ‘dead hand of the committee’. Flexibility, adaptability and innovation, as well as high operational standards, technical knowledge and willingness to ‘do things differently’, rather than sink deeper into a rut of inertia, are our hallmarks.

 Club call sign

Within a short time is was realised that there were benefits in obtaining a ‘club licence’ (M0PHX) largely because clubs call signs were very rarely heard on air and this attracted more attention than a ‘plain’ call sign. Also, it gave the Phoenix Radio Group a much clearer identity than a member’s own call sign. The members agreed that the aim was to have good conversations on interesting topics and not to operate ‘contest style’.

Similarly, although we have often used Special Event Call Signs these have not been used as ‘vanity call signs’. For most of our activities the club call sign, MX0PHX, has served us better, freeing us from the dead weight of calls form GB hunters who have no intention to ‘engage’ with what we do or how we do it. PRG, YHARG and now PARC have never, and will never make ‘rubber stamp QSOs’ except in those 'interesting' contests which we occasionally undertake.

QSL Cards

Because traditional QSL cards were becoming less popular it was decided to make designs for each activity and make these available as free downloads from the club’s website as ‘EeZee’ QSLs and Certificates.

YHARG

In 2013 an autonomous offshoot, the Youth Hostels Amateur Radio Group (YHARG) was set up for members who had a particular interest in finding unusual and remote places. This group had its own call sign (M0YHA), programme and members, but it collaborated closely with the Phoenix Radio Group on joint activities. The membership of the two groups overlapped.

Restructure

In 2015 a restructure created the Phoenix Amateur Radio Club, with the YHARG becoming an affiliated group along with the Three Musketeers (three supporters based in northeast Lancashire). This simplified many ‘back office’ issues, while affiliated groups continued to undertake their own activities or participate in Phoenix Amateur Radio Club ones.  PARC affiliated to the RSGB in January 2015.

Since 2015 PARC has undertaken a very large number of innovative on air activities as well as a number of off air ones such as the British Science Association’s Science In The Park Open Day in Nottingham and various open days at the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centr and the British Horological Institute near Newark. The YHARG interest group has been very active in seeking DX Awards, with over 60 haviong been collected since December 2015.

The last year

In January 2016 a major innovation was to start the British Scientists Amateur Radio Award (BritSci) which aimed to commemorate the lives of British scientists on a daily or weekly basis. This was open to any UK club to join in with their local scientist: only four showed any interest. However, over the course of the year BritSci had around 4000 QSOs (none being ‘rubber stamp’) and the award was downloaded by many people.

Unfortunately, in March 2016 propagation on the HF bands began to fall to the point where conditions were unuseable for days at a time. Nevertheless, every opportunity was taken to be on the air with some fresh activity. These poor conditions continued throughout 2016 and 2017 and have severely restricted the number PARC and YHARG’s of on-air days and resulted in a smaller programme.

A list of PARC & YHARG activities since 2013 can be found here.